Monthly Archives: May 2012

Taking my kids to work

I’ve received a few requests to talk more about taking my kids to work with me and how that works for us. Basically, I work for family in a very small commercial real estate office (three people). My stepdad is my boss, and my mom works here, too. Generally, it’s just my mom and I at work on an everyday basis, with my boss stopping in here or there. As long as I get my work done, he doesn’t mind me bringing the kids in, and my mom is here to help if I need it.

With Knox, working was pretty much a piece of cake. At first, he was more demanding since he couldn’t really entertain himself at eight weeks-old. We did a lot of singing, holding and typing with one hand. After a couple months, he was on a great nap schedule and slept through lunch each day, making it a breeze to go out to eat on a daily basis. He had a pack ‘n play in my office, several buckets of toys, and a play yard aka “the baby jail” in my mom’s office with a little travel dvd player for when he got fussy.

Taking him out to eat so often (my company pays for lunch, otherwise I would be eating a turkey sandwich every day!!) has turned Knox into the easiest kid ever to take out to eat or out anywhere, for that matter. He’s great in the car and well-behaved in public places, so I’m thankful for that learning experience for him! He never knew anything different, so he’s very relaxed when we go out.

With Brody, I have to say, it’s a lot more difficult! It’s very true that every kid is different, because personality-wise, these brothers are totally opposite. Brody is extremely social, not that Knox isn’t, but Brody is already conversational- he “talks” to us, waits for our response, then says something else. I do not remember Knox being like that so early on. Brody loves for us to talk to him and smiles and coos and spits like crazy when we do. I am pretty sure he’ll be an early talker (thank you, God!!).

However.

With that love for socialization also comes a hatred for being alone. By alone I mean anywhere other than his mom’s lap. He either wants to be 1) nursing 2) nursing or 3) talking to me, face-to-face. Yes, I said nursing twice, because he does it twice as often as most human children.  It is a challenge to bring him to work. He is NOT on a schedule, try as I might to put him on one, he despises the car (I’m talking screams every single second, hates it) and will not be set down. He must be moving at all times. I think that’s why he hates the car so much. The second we stop, and I lift his carrier out, he’s silent. Even though he hates stillness, it’s not exactly possible for me to walk around with him all day. It’s really hard to answer the phone with a screaming baby on your hip. I have to do a lot of setting him down and leaving the room to answer a different phone so I can actually hear who’s on the other line.

It doesn’t help that I have PPD/PPA this time around, either. I am pretty sure my meds need to be upped because I don’t feel as calm as I did at first. That’s a pretty common occurrence on Zoloft, though, needing a dosage increase after a few months. For now, I’m biting the bullet with bringing him to work with me in hopes it will level out soon. I keep trying to tell myself that I went through this same tough period with Knox when he was so little, too, and it got so much easier with time. I love being able to bring them with me. I like being able to continue breastfeeding on demand during the day (even if Brody’s demand is HIGH), I love being able to see him all day (I don’t want to miss his milestones!) and it’s a huge money savings to be able to skip daycare.

Knox stays home with Trevor and/or his Grandpa when Trevor’s on shift at the fire station. It would be way too much to have two here, and plus, Knox is now a crazy little boy instead of a calm little baby. He visited a couple weeks ago and it was pure chaos! It’s also too much for Trevor to have both of them during the day by himself. Some days it’s hard for me to watch both of them, and I have the magic boob power to calm Brody down. You just can’t compete with that!

So, in a nutshell, that’s how it “works” taking my kids to work with me. Though it’s not the most fun at this point in time, I loved it last time around, and I am sure it will be more enjoyable in the near future! Some days are great and work out very well, it’s just those few in between that make you want to pull your hair out and pop a Xanax. In short, it really depends on the individual child, your job and your patience level when it comes to making this arrangement work. It’s not for everyone, but it’s very worth it if you can swing it!

And just for fun, I had to share this! Here’s a side-by-side of both boys at the same age. I snapped a few pictures of Brody this weekend and was struck by how similar his expressions are to Knox’s at this age, so I had to do a comparison! Look at those same big round eyes… love!

A little trim

In all of this beadboard love, I decided that our dining room needed a little something extra, too. After five years of the same thing, I have to say, I am sick of the red.

When we moved into this house, I was red obsessed- I still love it, but my new color obsession leans towards orange. So, the plan in here was to paint above the chair rail the same rusty orange that is our current kitchen color, then add some wainscoting to the bottom. We planned to fake some paneling, but then I thought about all of the amazing transformations I’ve seen using beadboard wallpaper. I didn’t want to spend $20/panel again on the “real” stuff, so I felt good about $20 for a roll of paper.

I used the Allen + Roth brand from Lowe’s. It was $19.99 a roll, and I *almost* made it with one roll, but had to get a second one for about six feet of wall. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll find a use for the leftovers!

I measured my wall space and went ahead and cut out 29″ pieces of wallpaper, keeping the edges as straight as possible.

Once I had done all of my cutting, I wiped down the walls and baseboards to make sure everything was dust-free. Then, you proceed just like you would with regular wallpaper. You submerge the paper in water for 30 seconds, then book the pieces (fold on top of each other) for five minutes to activate the paste. Then, just put it on the wall, smooth it and trim the excess. After just one piece, I started to get excited- it looked so real!

Before...

After!

Considering I have two little boys that monopolize ALL of my daytime hours, I had to wait until Brody fell asleep each day to work on this project. Meaning, I was wallpapering at 10:30. It took me about three hours to do the whole room, spread out over three days. We’re now ready to paint! You have to wait 24 after applying paint to the paper, but I think once I hit the whole room with some white semi-gloss, it’s going to look even more authentic! I am super, super excited about the results so far, and can’t wait for the end product. Once I finish painting my new “paneling” I will repaint above the chair rail and hang some new curtains. I am loving all of these easy DIY projects- they’re making a huge difference in how we feel about our home!

This was the most annoying part, well that and all the corners.


Kitchen progress

We got so much done this weekend in the kitchen department. We wanted to go ahead and get as much of the beadboard backsplash up as possible, so our first step was to rip out the existing cabinet over the sink. If you remember, our plan is to install open shelving on that wall, so the cabinet had to go. Trevor took out the screws and tried to pull it off. It didn’t budge.

One he took a hammer to it, we found out why… the whole thing was stick/custom built to the wall. Good to know our cabinets are of very nice quality and definitely aren’t going anywhere- those suckers are sturdy! And yes, we did cover our pretty new granite countertops with pillows and blankets to protect them. Thanks for asking.

It took about 20 minutes to remove the entire cabinet from the wall. Woo hoo, hello empty wall!

It bears mentioning that while Trevor was ripping out the cabinet, Knox was eating lunch. Trevor called me to help with a piece of the cabinet, and when I walked back into the dining room, not two minutes later, this is what I found:

Yep, that would be my two year-old helping himself to a box of Krispy Kreme donuts. He pulled out and ate on three and was going for a fourth. Can we say major hyperactivity for the rest of the day? Why yes, yes we can.

After I scrubbed endless glaze off of Knox, the table and the floor, we got back to work! We headed out to Lowe’s to pick up our beadboard and other supplies.

The next day, we started work on the cutting. When I say “we,” I mean Trevor and his buddy, Cole. (Thanks, Lindsey, for letting us borrow him!) I was watching both of the children, so I wasn’t of much help with this part. They did endless measuring, adjusting and cutting, and got off to a great start.

(Ignore all of the crap off of our counters consolidated onto the island… okay?)

They got a few pieces up, and and yesterday Trevor finished up a lot on his own. We decided to put the panels all the way to the ceiling on the wall where our open shelves will be. The door and the window don’t line up, height-wise, so it would have made things look off center if we had gone to that height with the beadboard. This is what it looks like as of today.

I decided that when we build our open shelves, I’m going to stain them dark walnut. I was going to paint them white, but considering all of our dishes are white, too, that’d be a lot of white, and I think we need something to break all that up. Our butcher block will be stained the same dark walnut on the island, so it’ll blend well together. The wall space that we have exposed will be getting painted a light grey blue, which will be the same color we paint our living room, so it’ll look like one cohesive space.

We just have a piece left to do over the window and a skinny bit over the door before we can start adding the trim, then caulking and painting everything.

By the way, I am obsessed with our new faucet. Love it. Amazon.com is my hero for allowing us such a nice fixture within our budget!

Still so much left to do, but it is so exciting to see things coming along in the kitchen. Our butcher block for the island will be arriving tomorrow from Ikea, so there will be lots of staining and sealing going on this week before that can be installed, hopefully this weekend.

As if that wasn’t enough to do in one long weekend, I also spent a few hours making a major change in our dining room. I’ll share that tomorrow!

Bribery: It’s not just for kids

Did you know that you could bribe yourself? Well, friends, I’m here to tell you that 1) you can and 2) it works! I am holding on to a few pounds after having Brody that I’d love to lose, but can’t seem to shake. I am *this* close to fitting back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. They can button, but the avalanche of fat that gushes over the sides and the stretching zipper aren’t all that pleasant to behold. I figure I’m five pounds shy of where I need to be. After having Knox, I was back in my old jeans at around 8 weeks post partum. Yeah. That second kid’ll getcha. And your waistline!

So, I decided to take a stand against the pounds! They have to go. My problem is willpower. I just really, really like to eat. And I have no time to work out, thanks to my baby’s erratic sleeping “schedule.” If he went to sleep at the same time and I knew how long he’d stay asleep, it’d be easy to get something done, but that is not the case. So, I had to make eating right and exercising worth my while because apparently being skinny isn’t enough incentive for me.

My hair stylist started doing some new hair extensions, and knowing I’m ready for my hair to be long again, she told me about them. They’re called Hot Heads, and they’re a lot better for your hair than the bonded hair extensions and you can re-use the hair three times, making it much more economical (granted, they’re still a few hundred bucks the first time). I want them. Like, yesterday. I miss having long hair so much, but I can never make it much past my shoulders before I get sick to death of growing it out. So I decided to bribe myself.

If I lose 10 pounds, I can get hair extensions (if I can save up the money for them, too).

I’ve lost three pounds this week. Yeah. Bribery works. I’m eating the same stuff, just a little less (trying not to snack… my downfall!), and trying to squeeze in a random workout during the day. If Brody goes to sleep, I just start doing squats, lunges, crunches, etc. for as long as I can before feeling like I’m going to die. Hopefully I can keep it up!

Speaking of getting skinny, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and get a bathing suit for summer since it’s already hot as blazes here. However, I did not feel like conventional bathing suit shopping because it’s depressing. So I bought one online.

How cute and pin-up girlish is this?! It’s from Modcloth, and has almost 400 amazing reviews about how flattering it is, so hopefully it’ll work for me. I’ve never worn a one-piece, but thanks to my mangled belly button and stretch marks galore, my bikini days are behind me! It can be hard to find mom-friendly bathing suits that are still young and sexy looking, so I was happy to find this one! Hopefully it’ll fit well and I like it because I’ll be using it for several years… it was more $ than I usually spend on bathing suits! Anyway, just thought I’d share since so many of y’all are probably looking for the same thing!

Transitioning to the big boy bed

After Knox learned to climb out of his crib two weeks ago, we decided to go ahead and move him into a “big boy bed” to prevent falling accidents. Little did we know that those would happen anyway! We converted his crib into a toddler bed for a couple days until we could get his twin bed. We decided to just move him into a twin so we wouldn’t have to buy toddler bedding for such a short period of time, plus, it’d be easier to lay down with him in a twin bed than a toddler bed to keep him laying down!

I was thrilled to go ahead and order him his Pottery Barn Kids bedding, which is just as cute in-person. It’s their Lahaina set, and it matches his room perfectly! He also has an embroidered pillowcase with his name on it, but I had to wash it before putting it on the bed.

Obviously, we still need to order his headboard, but we’re waiting until we sell his crib, first. Knox LOVED his new bed and bedding! He rolled all over it and was a little chatterbox of excitement. The first few days were fairly challenging with the new sleeping situation. About five minutes into his first night in the toddler bed, he was out in the hallway. We put a safety knob on his door to keep him inside, and that was working really well for us. Emphasis on the word “WAS” for some foreshadowing. We did a lot of putting him back in the bed, but generally after five times or so and a firm “stay in bed!” from Trevor, he’d stay put and go to sleep.

Once the twin bed came, for about a day, he didn’t think he could get down. This was glorious, because he’d stay in the bed! Like I said, that lasted, oh, not long at all. Back to putting him back in bed ten times a night. Then, he started kicking the door. He would lay in the floor and kick with both feet if he wanted to get out. This was very noisy, and I’m pretty sure bad for the door (not to mention his legs!!).

Two mornings ago, we were laying in bed and he started to kick the door. After about five kicks, all of a sudden the kicks migrated to OUR door. Luckily we always pull the gate closed at night at the top of the stairs! After a happy boy greeted us at our door, we walked into his room to see this behind the door:

I guess one of his kicks made contact with the safety knob and it flew apart. We also found out his missing Dalmatian puppies were hiding behind the door! We were pretty sure that the knob incident was a fluke, so we put it back on and haven’t had further problems.

Then, Saturday night, I was awakened at 1:45 a.m. to a thud and a cry coming from the monitor. Knox fell out of the bed. He scared himself to death, but was totally fine. Though, I have to say, he scared Trevor WAY more! I said “Trevor, Knox fell out of the bed” so he’d get up to get him since Brody was sleeping on top of me. Trevor jumped up and exclaimed “HE FELL OUT OF THE BED?!!!” and literally ran out of the room. Ha ha, I guess awaking him from a deep sleep with that news startled him just a smidge! Knox would always sleep at the foot of the bed in his crib, and in his sleep, he twisted around to do the same thing in his bed. I moved the rail down further, but the same thing happened during his nap the same day. After posting a cry for help on Facebook, several people suggested a Pinterest trick of putting a pool noodle underneath his fitted sheet along the edge of the bed. So, we got one from Target, and voila! It seemed to do the trick! It’s not all that visible, just looks like a little lump under the covers. We left our rail on and curved the noodle around the side to the bottom. Hopefully it keeps working to keep our wild man contained!

The first night, Knox decided the noodle was a very good spot to rest his head. Crazy kid.

All in all, the transition has been easier than I thought it would be, even though it’s taken some work. I am sure he’ll get the hang of staying in bed, and last night he didn’t even get out once! It’s still bizarre to me that my baby is in a big bed. Trevor and I stood and watched him sleep one night this weekend and marveled at how fast he’s grown up. Today, a big boy bed. Tomorrow, he’ll be getting married. Okay, hopefully not tomorrow, but that’s my sentimentality getting the best of me. Babies grow up too fast!

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